Lobo out, Mafry in – Zainal Abidin plots defensive strategy ahead of JDT clash

Johor Darul Ta’zim may have crashed out of the FA Cup run, but the Southern Tigers are still a force to be reckoned with.

They recently defeated Boeung Ket Angkor FC 3-0 in Cambodia during the Group F AFC Cup fixture, thanks to goals from Safawi Rasid, Nazmi Faiz, and Gabriel Guerra.

JDT proved to be too strong for Boeung Ket even with new players like goalkeeper Haziq Nadzli and defender Dominic Tan Jun Jin in the squad.

Even though JDT lost to Pahang on aggregate, the Southern Tigers did net two goals at the Larkin, and Pahang made it to the next round of the FA Cup via a close shave, thanks to Sumareh’s late header.

Taking on JDT will be no easy task, according to Penang’s head coach Zainal Abidin Hassan, who has started plotting his defensive strategy against the Tigers.

Zainal Abidin also noted that he will be making some major tactical changes to face JDT at home this Wednesday.

“JDT players are all on form and performing well, even if they didn’t make it to the FA Cup semi-finals.”

“My players will have to be very wary when playing JDT, make sure we don’t make mistakes, and make sure we don’t give them space to exploit.” BHarian quoted Zainal Abidin as saying.

Penang FA is currently perched at the bottom of the MSL table with only 5 points and one win this season. At this point, every game is vital, and they will be looking to score and bag the 3 points.

“I have only one import player in the squad, but that’s fine. We need the 3 points. I will have to drop Reinaldo Lobo from the starting XI, and replace him with Mafry Balang to bolster the defence.” Zainal Abidin explained.

Zainal Abidin is also aware the Panthers will have to work twice as hard to halt the Southern Tigers, and he’s also counting on home advantage to defeat them.

Penang will be taking on JDT at the Batu Kawan Stadium in Penang tomorrow, 26th April, 9pm.


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